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Hunger is so much more than meets the eye. It’s a deep, rich, collection of experiences, and it’s something we all need to explore and pay attention to.
When we don’t understand the power of hunger or pay attention to it, we eat food that’s prepared quickly and for the masses. We also eat too fast.
When we eat in this manner, we’re not really in touch with our hunger. We can eat too much, too little, or the wrong foods altogether. Then we become overweight or undernourished.
So often we choose mentally, which is antithetical to Ayurveda, because Ayurveda is such a body-centered approach. It’s about the body first – mind second.
There’s a fear of hunger that we have as a collective consciousness and it’s getting worse in our society because people are being advised by their doctors to eat frequent and small meals, which leads to unstable blood sugar levels. The body will then forget how to fast and stay stable between meals.
This grazing mentality leads to situations that when food isn’t around, blood sugar levels crash and then people run to the vending machine to get a quick fix. This is the consequence of eating frequent and small meals to increase metabolism.
Each of us have the capacity to fast for longer periods of time. It’s fine to train our bodies to fast from breakfast until dinner without inducing a state of panic in the body. In Ayurveda we focus on building resilience so that fasting between meals is ok. When we do fast, we can still perform at the top of our game.
We can recover this stability by putting our life in a stable routine – namely, eating meals on time. This helps blood sugar levels stay stable even when a meal is missed. The interesting thing is that when we’re stable, we perceive reality more clearly.
Making changes isn’t easy. We realize that we have to face something. Our diet is like the religion of our body and when we change our religion, we make deep changes and are forced to face our demons. We must be willing to face emptiness – especially when it comes to food. Sometimes we have to face a sensation of deprivation.
Hunger gets its power from a number of things. Some of it’s chemical and some of it’s centered around our beliefs around deprivation. But, we can fill the emptiness with something better.
The emptiness is a pause in a culture that seems to be in hyper-drive all the time – an unsustainable pace. Running around in hyper-drive is an epidemic. Hyperactivity and productivity aren’t the same.
There’s more productivity in stillness than activity because we get to re-prioritize and choose what’s truly important. Space, time, reflection and inner exploration happen when we take the time and allow ourselves to feel hunger or emptiness.
We can let the discomfort lead us on a journey of self-discovery. When we come to a place of rest, we can ask “what will satisfy me? What is the manna that will really nourish my whole self?”
When we stack our meals or snacks on top of the other, all the blood goes to your belly and you can feel it. Your mind shuts down a bit and you feel satisfied, calm and secure. The stomach churns and you can feel the pulse of your heartbeat in your stomach.
The food churns in the stomach for a couple of hours and then passes into the small intestine.
So if you eat food within that time, the valve that lets the food out of your stomach closes again because now it has to digest new food. So, you put the breaks on the digestion of the previous meal. You’ll feel a subtle feel of disgust when this happens because you’re mixing digested food with undigested food.
Over the long run, when food sits in the digestive tract to long, it causes a proliferation of bacteria in the gut. Bacteria thrives in this environment. The food starts to rot and ferment in the gut. The first sign of this is gas and bloating.
It’s a sign of weakness in your gut. Then it’s smelly gas. This means food is a rotten and toxic material in your digestive tract. Thoughts become scattered, your tongue smell bad, and you have internal ama in the system.
So you journal that mistake, don’t repeat it, and try to get it out of your body as soon as possible. This might mean going to the bathroom with a book and waiting patiently.
Comment below with your thoughts!
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